Thursday, February 2, 2012

February 2nd., Riga, Peltsi

This is most likely the last post of the blog. The trip is over (except for Esa who is always on a trip) and everyone (except the #"!@ Esa) is safely back home. I'd like to still mention some things about the countries and the trip.

I started the trip from Laos. I must say that I fell in love with the country - it's definately the most relaxed country I have ever been in. Doing anything in a hurry in the country was simply impossible. Waiting two hours for dinner wasn't exceptional - surely the restaurant family had to dine at some point themselves also and if you happened to come in just while they started their own dinner then bad luck for you.

Cambodia was also a nice country but somehow I feel like we didn't see or experience much of it. A bit more civilized perhaps but still quite 'raw'. And after that, Vietnam was even more civilized a place but also a lot noisier and more hectic. I don't think any of us liked Saigon for example.

Some things that I kept on thinking about. Especially in Laos and Cambodia it was really hard to see anyone reading anything. I think I saw one local guy reading something in Cambodia and none in Laos. There were no local newspapers also anywhere to be seen. In Vietnam I think I saw maybe three locals reading something. I guess that's progress...

Another funny thing was the local girls' attitude towards the sun. We wondered in the beginning why all local girls had lots of clothes on - it was rather rare to see a local girl in t-shirt for example. Eventually we found out why: so that they wouldn't get sun! All girls wanted to be as white as possible so the less their skin saw sun the better. Not quite how we do it around here, eh?

As we talked between us guys, this was most likely the last this kind of trip we are going to make. If you're asking why, the reasons are rather simple: jobs, girlfriends and....AGE! Yes, we are getting old :) We are simply not the young all-energetic awesomely handsome guys from the past anymore. And full-time jobs take time and full-time girlfriends demand some time :) Perhaps next bigger trips will be some couple trips. Should be a bit....different!

Well, thanks for reading our blog. Let's see what we come up with in the future. Perhaps next blog will be called "how to (or not to) travel with 5 guys and their girlfriends".

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Jan 29th, Saigon airport, Esa

Here we are, at the end of our trip. The guys are continuing to Bangkok for a couple of days and then back to Europe. I'm flying to Kuala Lumpur to meet up with Sandra and my family, which means that my time in the warm climate is not over yet. Nice!

But a couple of words about the last two days in Vietnam. Train ride from Nha Trang went quite smoothly in a compartment with a couple of kids and their parents and several pieces of luggage. Unfortunately the aircondition made the train car a bit too cold. Even though we come from the far North, we are not used to the cold! After having arrived at the station we made sure that we chose a legimite taxi. It was sort of annoying to think about the previous taxi ride in Saigon.. I think we paid about the ten times the real cost. Perkele! If you come to Saigon, use a taxi company called Vinasun or Mailinh. They are ok. Sampo came up with a good idea; we should make stickers saying ”I'm a scammer” and stick them to the back of some illegal taxis. That would be fun!

The hotel we had chosen was in a little side alley close to a busy tourist street. That was fine for us. We didn't feel like exploring the city that much anymore. We actually did something that none of us had done for a while – we watched TV! Very interesting indeed. We also went to the movies and saw one of the crappiest films ever – The Underworld. Seriously, that was bad. And we were not the only ones who thought so since several people left the theater during the movie.

Something about my travel companions: For some reason the guys wanted to grow a huge beard. I tried that too, but it looked and felt so incredibly awful that I decided to shave it already a while ago. But the guys still have their beards. Sorry Silja and Kristine. The guys are so butt-ugly. The funny thing is that two years ago, during our previous big trip, we would have paid Peltsi a lot of money to grow a mustache, and now he did it for free :D. Peltsi has a plan what to do with his beard and mustache when he gets back home, but I'll let him tell about it himself.

To sum up a bit: Laos was extremely relaxing except for the bus rides which too forever. People were friendly and things were cheap. Mekong is cool! Laos is also the least developed of the countries we visited. Cambodia has a very interesting history. Phnom Penh was one of my favorites even though it was quite filthy. Very lively and interesting. Another good thing is that it's not too big. Easy to get around by tuk tuk. Vietnam is big – a country of 86 million or more. We saw only a little bit of the country but at least I felt that it was the most expensive and the most hectic place we came across. Saigon is what it is – crazy. The coast is really beautiful and definitely worth a visit. If you want to take a diving course, Nha Trang is maybe the cheapest place in the world to do it. The big tet-holiday affected our trip a bit. If you know that you are going to Vietnam around tet, book all your transport and accommodation well in advance.

Travelling is cool! You should try it ;)


Friday, January 27, 2012

Jan 26th 2012, Nha Trang, Peltsi

The story of five nights and four rooms in same small village. In short, that means we are in Vietnam. It's absolutely amazing how Vietnamese people are able to screw up most of the things related to accomodations.

For the first night we had booked a hotel with 3 beds in a private room for three nights. When we arrived to the hotel they said they don't receive anything from hostelworld and they don't have a room for us. After some slight 'disagreements' they organized a four-bed room for us for two nights and after that we'd need to switch to a 3-bed room. So far so good, almost. At some point we asked if we can stay longer in the smaller room and it was ok for them. As we already had some experiences about the locals we made sure the following day that it's ok to stay there and of course it wasn't. Would've cost almost double and we would've moved to again a different room so went hunting for another place to stay.

Sampo and Esa found a place for us and they booked the place for two nights. I was spending the day mostly in bed with some mild stomach problems. The morning we checked out of our hotel and went to this new hostel where they told us that they had received a reservation through internet which they had somehow 'missed' last time so one of us would need to sleep on the floor of the room as it would be overfull. At that point we knew that we didn't have much options as it's still the local holiday and all places are rather full so we decided to stay. Sampo lost the lottery and got the honour to sleep on the floor. Aaaand at some point the guy offered us another better room in a different hotel because he ”felt bad about us”. We took the offer and went to the fourth room for the last night.. Personally I believe they had again screwed up reservations and they had to find some place where to put us.

Esa and Sampo's diving instructor had mentioned that the Vietnamese really don't think of anything but themselves and never anything in the future. Sometimes it really seems like that. For example in the first hotel we stayed in in this village a fellow pissed off traveler from the States had actually himself called hostelworld and asked them to close the account of the hotel as the hotel managers didn't think of doing that themselves. It was as easy as one phone call and all their hostelworld problems disappeared. I wonder how long it would've taken for the hotel to think of this. They simply kept on telling everyone that they are sorry but they cannot give them the accomodation they had reserved because they don't receive..blahblahblah...

After Sampo's last writing not much has happened. But doing that much seems to be a lot of effort around here. We wake up, maybe do something and then oopsie daisy it's time for sleep. For example yesterday we spent some three hours at the beach and after that..umm..oh, yes, we walked to the other end of the town to see some not-so-touristic areas and then came home. Was tough.. Actually the beach part WAS rather rough. The waves at the beach were quite big and spending 15 minutes standing there felt like you had done lots of sports. But it was extremely fun :)

Ok today we actually did something. Or we didn't but a boat did. We had reserved a tour around some islands nearby. First visit was to an awesomely crappy aquarium. Second was snorkeling which might've been nice but the equipment leaked like hell. At least for my nose (perhaps my awesome travel mustache had something to do with it, though..). Third stop was for some local band concert onboard. They dug up makeshift drums and all, which was quite nice actually :) Fourth stop was to a private beach resort but we decided to skip that and stay on the boat as the beach was absolutely full of tourists as all the boat trips through different agencies have exactly the same schedule. Well that seems extremely clever. Overall the trip was nice, we did a bit of some swimming and I believe those boys got also a bit sunburn.

In general we were supposed to have lots of extra time in this town but in the end it feels like we have been extremely busy all the time. As Sampo suggested, maybe it is healthy to stay in one spot a bit longer now.

Tomorrow early morning we head out back to Saigon. Two nights there and after that it's time for separation again. Esa separates from our merry group as me and Sampo take a flight to Bangkok on Sunday and Esa takes a flight somewhere in Africa or Antarctica or wherever, I've stopped long time ago trying to follow where that guy goes. In Bangkok we have two nights and then it's early flight towards Europe again. I will have a short stopover in Helsinki before flying to Riga but Sampo obviously stays in Helsinki.

Our plan for the future days is rather simple. In Saigon we do nothing. Or if possible we get as far away from the city as possible for a day trip. In Bangkok we do lots of shopping to please our inner ladies. Or the ladies waiting in Europe. Straightforward enough.

P.S. Have you ever played this game called ”i-kieli” or roughly in English ”the i language”? You replace all vowels in everything you say with the vowel i. I used to play it with my sister when I was about 5 years old but now I remembered it again here and it was rather entertaining. Although I'm unsure if the best entertainment was the silly language itself or Sampo who hated the language. Esa the language master mastered this new language easily. Also I'm a bit unsure how well the game works in English for example – Finnish is perfectly phonetic so you always know how to pronounce whatever you see but I'd hate to try to think of how to pronounce some new i-words in English.

Oh, a perfect homework for you people from different countries. We are absolutely dying to know how i-language fits for different languages. Go experience on the streets and share your knowledge!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Jan 24th 2012, Nha Trang, Sampo

Ah, travelling. You work your butt off to make money so that once you get on holiday, you can fly away to sleep bad, wake up early, sit on a bus, sweat and get dirty. Before our trip, several people mentioned that we must be nuts if we're really trying to see four countries in five weeks, cause we'd have to be constantly on the move. The thing is, this is the only way I know how to travel. Even the best places start to seem a little dull after a couple of days, and I soon yearn to be back on the road. Only this time, moving has mostly involved buses that are slow and hot and move on bad roads. In four weeks I've clocked about 57 hours of bus travel. Add to this 8 hours on a boat and maybe 24 hours on trains, and you get nearly 90 hours of moving from one place to another.

So once we got out of the bleeping, honking madness that is Saigon and arrived on the calm beaches of Nha Trang, we were soon quite convinced that we'll be spending the rest of the trip by the sea and not on another bus. To keep the pace going though, we first planned to move on from Nha Trang after a couple of days and find another interesting town or some guesthouses on the nearby islands. However, it turned out that there aren't many options that don't involve long bus rides or five star holiday resorts, so we decided to stay put and relax in Nha Trang. Which wasn't a bad idea after all.

We arrived here on Sunday, which, as Esa explained, was the New Year's Eve for the Vietnamese. So we got to celebrate New Year for the second time in three weeks. However, in comparison to Finland, Tet feels more like Christmas than New Year: most people take the whole week off, streets and restaurants are lavishly decorated with Tet-related stuff, and instead of getting excessively drunk and shouting around the streets like we do, the Vietnamese spend their New Year's Eve having dinner with their families. It wasn't all quiet though, since at midnight thousands of people, locals as well as tourists, gathered by the beach to watch a pretty impressive fireworks show that lasted for nearly 15 minutes. As soon as the show was over, the crowd dispersed and people jumped on their scooters to get away. Strange.

Nha Trang is a pretty traditional tourist beach town with the usual tourist bars, tourist restaurants, tourist shops and tourists, as well as locals that want you to turn your wallet inside out. So, in short, not really my kind of place. However, with our trip nearing its end and knowing what's expecting us back home, I can't really complain about being able to swim and relax in a comfortable climate. Besides, in spite of it being Tet, Nha Trang really isn't crowded at all – I guess the holidays are long gone for most westerners. In addition, there are pretty cool things to do, like diving for example.

This town is full of diving agencies that offer all sorts of packages. If you aren't a certified diver, you can still do introductory dives with an instructor, just to see what you're missing. We went shopping around different agencies on Monday, starting from the bigger ones, but ended up booking our excursion with a private entrepreneur called Mark Scott, a huge ex-rugby player from Texas. For some reason Peltsi had less interest in getting wet so he decided to skip this one, but this morning me and Esa got up at 6.30 to go do some diving.

We took a boat to one of the islands nearby, where there are some pretty nice corals and shallow waters, and Mark showed us how to use all the equipment. Pretty soon it was time to jump in the water. Now, diving is something that I've always wanted to try but never had the chance, so this was a dream come true. However, the first moments were a bit chaotic. Even breathing felt so strange that I had a hard time concentrating simultaneously on the pressure in my ears or on emptying the water from my mask, while trying to be aware of my depth. Esa had done a similar introductory dive once before and had less problems getting adjusted. By the end of our first dive I was feeling a lot more comfortable, and the second dive we did was just pure bliss. Esa, quite aptly, compared diving to driving a car: you need to get used to handling the equipment before you're able to watch your surroundings.

Because the rainy season apparently ended just a couple of weeks ago, underwater visibility wasn't as good as it could be, but we saw really cool corals and all kinds of things living on them, and plenty of fish, of course. In short, it was one of the coolest things I've done. I think we both got a little bit hooked: during the second dive, the 45 minutes that we spent underwater felt more like 5, and left us wanting for more. I'm definitely going to do the open water diver course sometime in the future.

Some words about practical issues. As you all know by now, Olli is (was) our official Minister of Lottery. Right after we had left him in Siem Reap, we realised that we had made a terrible mistake: how were we going to select a new minister, if the old minister wasn't there to organise a lottery? After a long discussion and plenty of desperation, we came up with a solution.

As on our previous trips, we have set up a ”House Wallet”, in which everyone puts some money and which we then use to pay for common goods together. It's a good way to avoid all the hassle that comes with paying separately or trying to remember who paid what. We take turns to carry the House Wallet. As it is an important responsibility, we decided to make it even more important by making the carrier of the House Wallet also the acting Minister of Lottery, so now we've all had to do some, err, lotterying. By pure coincidence, I alone inherited Olli's second job, namely being the Minister of Numbers, who's in charge of managing and recording possible inbalances in the House Wallet. Having to take on these burdens has really made us appreciate the great work Olli has done for us in the past. Wish you were still here!

I think we'll head to the beach now. In the next two days we'll probably be visiting the islands, eating and swimming. At first we wanted to go back to Saigon on Saturday evening, but due to the end of the Tet holidays all the trains were full, so now we have tickets for Friday morning. Until then, I think we'll just relax. Time goes too fast when you do things.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Jan 21st 2012, Saigon, Esa

Ho Chi Minh is Saigon. According to the Bible (Lonely Planet) everyone but the city officials call the city by its old name. Saigon is huge, Saigon is loud, Saigon is a cultural shock after the more relaxed Laos and Cambodia. One of the things we first noticed about the city was the indescribable number of scooters and mopeds. If you think there are many of them in Italy or Spain you haven't seen the second city of Vietnam!

Our plan was to arrive in the city, take a tuk tuk to the train station and buy tickets to the beach resort of Nha Trang some 400-500 km away. Unfortunately things arent't that easy. After arriving to the city we realized that there aren't any tuk tuks! There were plenty of taxis instead. We hopped on the first one. The driver put on the meter and off we drove. We later found out that we had paid way way too much for the few kilometers drive. Apparently the guy had used his engineering skills on the taxi meter. Bloody hell! At the station we waited for a while to get to the ticket counter. There were no tickets left for any trains on that day. That was because the Vietnamese celebrate one of their most important holidays, the Lunar New Year and the ”TET” around this time. I'll tell you more about the TET later. Fortunately we managed to get tickets for the following day, though. Price per ticket was 400 000 dong, or around 16 euros. So, one night in Saigon it is!

What's is there to see in Saigon except for the traffic and all that life? Most Western visitors go see the War Museum, which is actually called ”The War Remnants Museum”, a museum dedicated to tell the public about the Vietman War and the atrocities committed during the war years. I don't want to go into detail about the war since everyone knows that it was terrible story and had no good cause. The museum was interesing to see, but it failed to tell about the things that led to the war, how the war years passed and how the Americans were finally kicked out of the country. To me personally the whole story is still quite unclear. What I know, however, is that the TET-offencive was a turning point that shifted the public opinion in the States against the war. TET was a Vietnamese success which came to being around the Lunar New Year. I believe the Vietnamese are very proud of their history. The TET is just around the corner and you can easily see how everyone is preparing for the festivities around the city. There are plenty of state probaganda to be seen too; lots of communist flags togther with traditional Vietnamese and Chinese symbols. A funny combination.

A bit more about the traffic. There are more mopeds than cars, and public transport is pretty much non-existent. At least we didn't find any indication of a tram or metro network. There were a couple of busses but they drove almost empty. I guess there is no need for real public transport since everyone has a moped and you can easily fit three or four people on one. Or even more if babies are in question. Crossing the street is a form of art, and can be a scary experince for a newcomer. So, how to cross a street where thousands of scooters are driving as one huge mecanical snake? You just walk. Slowly. Somehow the drivers manage to see the pedestrians crossing, and not hit them. You just have to keep your eyes open and walk slowly so the drivers will have time to react. I didn't see a single accident, so I guess the system works. Stressful it still is, though. I don't love Saigon in particular, but I think one might come to like it in time. There's a lot to be discovered and the Vietnamese people are great. But first you need to get a moped :).

Olli left us a day ago because he had to get back to his studies in Finland. Now there's only three of us till the end of the trip. That's too bad because Olli is the Minister of Lottery. We've already come across a couple of situations where the Minister's skills would have come handy. Well, now we just have to figure out how to deal with difficul lottery moments.

As I already mentioned, our next destination is the costal city of Nha Trang. I can't wait! I want to see the sea and enjoy beach life. I suggested the guys we try scuba diving... let's see if we manage to do that. I've tried diving once before and have somewhat mixed feelings about it. I'd like to try it again to see whether or not I really like it. Anyways, Nha Trang should be a good place to find diving schools. Well, swim I will for sure!

(Btw, added a couple of photos to Peltsi's previous post.)

Jan 21st 2012, Helsinki, Olli

Today was a very interesting day for me, it was only a matter of minutes that I didn’t miss my flight! But first shortly what happened before that. So after saying goodbye to the other guys in Siem Reap I still stayed in our hostel room for a couple of hours to wait for my bus to Bangkok. It sucked big time. I think I never want to get into a situation anymore where everyone else are continueing the trip and I’m the only one going home. Not fun. Oh by the way, Peltsi forgot to mention something funny. Remember from our previous posts how it happened many times that me and Peltsi ended up sleeping in a same bed after the bed-lottery. Well guess what? It happened again, twice! So in the end, out of six possibilities, me and Peltsi ended up sharing a bed not less than five times! In Battambang it was even more exciting than normally, because we actually had five beds for six people. And we had lost the lottery with Peltsi four times in a row. You can only imagine the disbelief and joy and fury and all the other feelings involved after me and Peltsi had, once again, ended up together. We calculated that all-in-all the odds for all of these things to happen was less than 1 of 1000…

Olli at the moment of separation

The bus trip to Bangkok was, surprise surprise, 12-hour long. It was quite ok, actually the worst part was when we reached the traffic jams of Bangkok. It was very slow. In Bangkok I had one night before my flight, so I spent it just walking around the city, eating a lot and doing some last-minute-shopping. I also bought a bus ticket for the next morning to the airport, so that in the morning I wouldn’t have to worry about anything and I could have an easy morning. That’s what I thought.

My flight departured at 9.10 AM. Knowing that traffic in Bangkok can be very slow and hectic and that my hotel was situated in the wrong side of Bangkok right next to Khaosan road (about 45km from the airport), I bought a ticket to a bus leaving at 6.00. So I set my alarm at 5.30. Right next to my hotel there was a really loud bar, and I decided to listen some music from my iPod to fall asleep easier in the evening. Biiiig mistake. It turned out that I fell asleep with my iPod on and totally missed my alarm. When I woke up, my first thought was that wouldn’t it be awful to wake up like that and realise your alarm didn’t work. Then I looked at my phone. 7.47. Shit! About ten minutes later I was out of my room, checked out and inside a taxi. Fortunetally he drove very fast and there was not as much traffic as I had feared. When I got to the Finnair baggage drop, they told me that I have ten minutes to get to the gate, which was, naturally, on the other side of the airport. So I ran through the passport control, security check and half the airport, and I did manage to get there in time after all. Quick “shower” in the toilet and I was good to go. And now I am already in Helsinki, still thanking god that I made it.

This being my last post, I feel I should say something about my trip. Well, first I have to thank Sampo, Esa and Peltsi once again for an amazing trip! I felt really bad leaving in the middle of the trip, but I hope you guys have a great time also in Vietnam! Watch out for the mountains and wife-beaters (Esa), cooked pineapples and peanut butter (Peltsi) and airplanes and butterflies (Sampo). You know what I’m talking about. I guess two things for me were the ones I’m going to miss the most. One is the ridiculously cheap food. Really, you can eat some fantastic food out in nice restaurants three times a day and you don’t have to pay basically anything. For me who loves to eat, that is just amazing. The other thing was the chilled-out atmosphere and the friendly people, especially in Laos and in Cambodia. I mean you can actually feel the time passing slower in Laos than in anywhere else. Okay, when you’re sitting in a bus it’s not always as much fun, but otherwise it’s just amazing. I only wish I had more time in there. And almost no-one tried to scam you. So if someone was being friendly to you, in most cases it was how it seemed. Not a thing you can say in many places.

The time in Myanmar was not very easy for me. The food poisoning took all my strength and I could’t enjoy it the way I would’ve liked. But as for what I did experience, I think it’s true what they say. It’s worth visiting because of the people. Just make sure you know about the history and the present situation of the country before you go. I just wish I had more time in all of the countries. Oh well, I wouldn’t be surprised if I found myself from Laos again one of these days…

Now it’s time for me to concentrate on my studies for two more months before starting to plan my next trip. But the summer is quite close, so let’s see… But now, thanks to everyone who followed our trip and auf Wiedersehen!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Jan 20th 2012, Phnom Penh, Peltsi

Oh a lot has happened during the past days. Some people are complaining why we update the blog so rarely but believe it or not there simply isn't enough time for writing. Our schedules are often quite hectic and planned. Too hectic. And the planning isn't so essential, plans fail often anyway.

But let's continue from where last blog left us. The following day after Russian market we did travel to Battambang (fun name to try to pronounce by the way). We could've just taken a direct bus to Siem Reap which was our real destination but we had some spare days so decided to make a detour. It turned out that there is almost nothing in Battambang except one silly bamboo-train-tourist-thingy, You get on a bamboo raft on small railroad and go 7km one way and the same back. There's only one pair or rails so if (when) you encounter another 'train' the one with the least cargo is disassembled and waits until the other one passes. Strange thing. Besides that we didn't do anything in the city. Maybe some food,

Following early morning we took a boat to Siem Reap and left the girls to spend one more day in Battambang., From the boat we saw quite some nice places along the river – floating villages, poverty, sunshine, fishing and beautiful sceneries. Me and Olli managed to steal places from the roof of the boat which was an excellent choice (as long as we exclude the sunburns). Will attach some pictures hopefully.

Well we got to Siem Reap with the boat, eventually. The main reason the city exists is its temple area. Everyone has heard of Angkor Wat but there's tons of other temples aswell. We spent the first day exploring Angkor Wat and an ancient village next to it. Angkor Wat is the main temple in the area and it is surrounded by some 100-meter wide moat. Personally the Angkor Wat was a bit of a disappointment – I expected something spectacular similar to the Pyramids, but somehow this seemed to be almost just a huge pile of rocks resembling something. Maybe someone else has more things to say about the area – Sampo spent the following day alone exploring the other temples and claims he found nicer things. Beats me. The ancient village next to the Angkor Wat used to include even a million inhabitants which was quite puzzling to think of.

In my case the most exciting thing that happened in Siem Reap was visiting a holy place in the town. This holy place is of course the brand new boutique hotel Pippeli Pensione. Let me tell you the story.

A few months ago for some strange reason (believe me or not, I do not remember why!) I googled word pippeli which in Finnish is a cute word for dick. Either the first or second hit was this boutique hotel in Siem Reap called Pippeli Pensione. I shared the link with some friends and it started spreading and a few weeks later I even saw a newspaper article of it. And at some point I realized that god damn – we are actually going to Siem Reap during this Asia trip! So I made a promise to myself to make a pilgrimage to the place.

It took me a few hours to find the place even if they had an almost-exact location provided in google maps. The reason why I almost didn't find it is twofold: 1) the place is not officially open yet 2) according to local traditions if you don't want bad luck to the place you can't reveal the place's name before the place is fully ready.

But I did find it. I went in and a really nice couple greeted me at the entrance and asked if they could help me. I told them I'm just looking around and that I'm from Finland – at that moment they immediately understood why I was there. They were obviously aware of their name's reputation. In reality the name comes from the couple's children's names Pip and Eli (if I remember right). They started smiling a lot and showed me around a bit and offered some beer. In exchange for the beers they demanded that as the first Finnish person (they obviously now have an obsession for the strange Finnish people) I sign their bardesk. So I did. They promised to post the pictures to their facebook site but I'll see if I can post one here aswell. What a proud moment for a Finn!

Now we came back to Phnom Penh but without Olli. Olli took a bus from Siem Reap to Bangkok and his flight back to Finland leaves from there this Saturday. What a sad moment to lose our lottery minister! We have already been lost as we don't know who should do the lottery for bus seats for us, any of us three doing it just doesn't seem right. I hope we can manage somehow. Currently we are having some breakfast in Phnom Penh and in half an hour we continue to Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) in Vietnam by another bus. Some 10 days of Vietnam ahead of us three – wheeeeee. Let's see :)